The Street Smart Law Blog

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  • Julie Morris

5 Strategies for Busy Professionals to Avoid Burnout

You love your job and are passionate about your work, but lately you’ve had a hard time focusing. You’ve missed things and made errors in your work or judgment. These are signs of burnout.

Over time, work-life imbalance and unreasonable expectations can lead to excessive stress, frustration, fatigue, and various physical and mental issues. With these tips, you can avoid burnout and still be successful at work and in your personal life.

1. Take Control of Your Health

A proper diet can make you healthier, happier, and more productive. For overall wellness, improving your gut health is essential. Research indicates that gut microbes affect how the body stores fat, balances blood glucose, and staves off certain diseases. For optimal gut health, add fermented foods to your diet such as kimchi and yogurt.

The physical benefits of exercise are well documented, but the cognitive benefits are numerous as well. According to CIPHR, exercise reduces stress levels, improves focus, sharpens memory, and increases productivity at work. You can fit short physical activities into your weekday schedule if you don’t have the time for a longer session, by taking the stairs, choosing a parking spot that’s farther away from the office, or going for a quick walk. Then, commit to longer workouts on the weekends.

2. Get Enough Quality Sleep

Busy schedules and heavy workloads lead to a lack of sleep, and unfortunately, it's a hard cycle to get out of. If you are exhausted at work, you are less focused and productive, so you end up bringing work home and staying up late to get it done, and the cycle repeats the next day. Make an effort to get at least seven hours of quality sleep a night. Avoid electronics, caffeine, and excessive alcohol in the evening to get your best night's sleep.

3. Delegate What You Can

At work and at home, delegation can reduce your stress levels and help you avoid burnout. For example, if you can afford a housekeeper or a meal service, hire one. Studies reveal that people who pay someone to do time-consuming chores are much happier than those who spend their money on material goods instead. Of the same vein, if you have a strong, capable team at work, have the confidence to delegate duties to them. This will positively affect their careers, while also taking the pressure off you. Also, if you have responsibilities that are taking up too much of your time, you can hire remote freelancers to help such as virtual assistants and customer support professionals.

4. Schedule Free Time

If your life is dictated by your work calendar, then make sure to schedule daily free time. Take your appointment with yourself as seriously as you would any other commitment – stick to it, unless an emergency stops you. Scheduling 30 to 60 minutes of free time a day will allow you the mini-break you need to refuel. Go for a walk in the park, visit a bookstore, or even take a nap. No matter what you do with your time away from work, you'll likely find yourself feeling more creative, energetic, and positive upon your return. If you really want to recharge, then force yourself to…

5. Take a Vacation

Taking a vacation is essential to one’s health, yet not everyone uses their vacation days. Skipping vacations hurts productivity, increases burnout, and leads to turnover. You’ve earned your vacation time, so don't put off using it. Time away from the office will allow you to relax and recharge your batteries. Don't bring work along with you on your vacation, or be tempted to answer work emails and phone calls. Take a true break.

The Takeaway

If you are feeling exhausted, making mistakes or missing things, you could be experiencing burnout from work overload and a lack of free time. These helpful tips can help you get rejuvenated, avoid burnout in the future, and thrive both at work and at home.

Julie Morris is a life coach who specializes in helping busy high-end professionals find a work-life balance. She can be reached at